The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that it will expand the list of allowable imports from countries recognized as presenting a minimal risk of introducing bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) into the
"This rule is firmly based in science and ensures that we continue to protect the
This rule makes final a proposed rule published in the Jan. 9, 2007 Federal Register. It also builds upon and expands the rule published by APHIS in January 2005 that allowed the importation of certain live ruminants and ruminant products, including cattle under 30 months of age for slaughter from countries recognized as minimal risk.
The final rule announced today allows for the importation from
- Live cattle and other bovines (i.e., bison) for any use (including breeding) born on or after, March 1, 1999, which APHIS has determined to be the date of effective enforcement of Canada's ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban.
- Blood and blood products derived from bovines, collected under certain conditions.
- Casings and part of the small intestine derived from bovines.
The January 2005 final rule, the first MRR rule, allowed the importation of Canadian bovine meat and meat products of any age. Subsequent to the publication of the final rule in January 2005, USDA delayed the applicability of those provisions of that final rule that dealt with meat and meat products from animals 30 months of age or older.
With this final rule which will be published shortly, that temporary delay in applicability is lifted and importation of these meat and meat products now can occur.
As part of its BSE rulemaking process, APHIS conducted a thorough risk assessment following guidelines put forth by the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, that evaluated the entire risk pathway, including mitigations in place both in
Additionally, APHIS encouraged the public to participate in the decision-making process by providing feedback through the submission of public comments. The public comment period on the proposed rule opened Jan. 9, 2007 and closed on March 12, 2007.
There are a series of interlocking safeguards in place to protect animal health from BSE transmission. These longstanding safeguards include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, import controls, aggressive disease surveillance and
Moreover, human health in the
The final rule is scheduled for publication in the Sept. 18, 2007 Federal Register and becomes effective Nov. 19, 2007. Additional information is available at www.aphis.usda.gov